Robert Durst, the New York real estate heir charged with murdering his friend Susan Berman, has long denied writing a note that told police where to find her body. In an HBO documentary about the murders he is suspected of committing, Durst said “only the killer could have written” it.
Now, as his trial looms, Durst’s attorneys say he actually did send the note, a brief all-caps letter to the Beverly Hills Police Department reading “1527 Benedict Canyon” and, below, “cadaver.”
It was mailed Dec. 23, 2000, the day Berman died. The house at the address belonged to Berman. When police arrived, after having already been alerted by neighbors that her dogs were loose, they found her body. She had been shot in the back of the head.
Durst’s attorneys made the admission in a court document filed Dec. 24, The New York Times first reported Tuesday. It is the first time Durst has admitted to being anywhere near the scene of the crime at the time of Berman’s death, according to the paper.
But Durst remains adamant that he did not shoot his friend.
“Bob didn’t kill Susan Berman, and he doesn’t know who did,” Dick DeGuerin, Durst’s lead defense lawyer, told The New York Times. Durst has also been suspected in the deaths of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst, and an elderly neighbor, Morris Black.
Durst, 76, has been behind bars since his arrest in 2015 just one day before the finale of the HBO documentary series “The Jinx.” The buzzy series culminated in a hot-mic recording of Durst muttering to himself, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” That apparent admission left viewers stunned ― but the two lines had been significantly edited for shock value, The New York Times reported in April.
Producers of the documentary had uncovered new evidence about the “cadaver note,” however, that suggested the handwriting belonged to Durst. They showed him a letter he had written to Berman in Beverly Hills, incorrectly spelling it “Beverley.” The name of the police department on the cadaver note had also been misspelled “Beverley.” The lettering, too, appeared to come from the same hand.
Although Durst’s attorneys tried to block expert testimony linking the handwriting to Durst, the judge in the case ruled against them.
Durst’s trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court is scheduled to start on Feb. 10.